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Nativo Lopez Indicted by Grand Jury, Jailed

Orange Juice political news blog posted a media release on July 2, 2010, reportedly from Nativo Lopez’s daughter, announcing that her father, President of Mexican American Political Association National (MAPA), was “arrested today.”

According to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department of Inmate Information Center, Nativo was assigned to the Twin Towers jail in Los Angeles on 7/01/10 and would have celebrated America’s Independence Day there unless someone posted his $55,000 bail.  The record shows that he was bailed out at 8:43 p.m. on July 3.   His next hearing is scheduled for August 6, 2010, in Los Angeles Superior Court

Orange County Register political reporter Martin Wisckol posted the story shortly before noon on July 2, and stated that the preliminary hearing scheduled on July 12 for four felony counts related to voter fraud had been changed to eight felony charges (according to the MAPA media release).  The Register also indicated that a call had been placed to the office of Los Angeles DA Steve Cooley and they were awaiting a response as to  “…why the superseding grand jury indictment was filed.” 

The Los Angeles Superior Court Criminal Index shows that Nativo Lopez was charged with two counts of violating Election Code, Sec. 18100(a), willfully causing, procuring or allowing himself or any other person to be registered as a voter; and two counts of violating Election Code Sec. 185600(a), fraudulently voting or attempting to vote at an election.

Each charge carries a sentence of up to three years in state prison or not exceeding one year in county jail.  Additionally, he faces felony charges for two counts of violating Penal Code Sec. 118(a), perjury (either by statement, testimony, declaration deposition or certification.); and two counts of violating Penal Code Sec. 115(a), knowingly procuring or offering a false or forged instrument to be filed, registered or recorded in any public office within the state.

Former MEChA organizer Nativo Virgil Lopez (born Larry Lopez in East Los Angeles), is no stranger to controversy, ranging from accusations in 1996 that he registered voters before their citizenship was finalized for the Orange County race in which Democrat Loretta Sanchez defeated conservative incumbent Robert Dornan. 

Lopez was later recalled from his position as a member of the Santa Ana School Board by an overwhelming 71% of the mainly Latino voters. This was largely the result of claims that he misused funds granted by the CA Department of Education for English classes for immigrant students. Lopez’s activities have also included advocacy for cockfighting, which he justified as a Mexican cultural tradition.

On July 1, 2009, a press release entitled, “Overhill Farms, Inc. Sues Nativo Lopez for Defamation and Extortion,” announced that the company “…has filed a lawsuit against Nativo Lopez and six other leaders of an unlawful campaign aimed at coercing the company to violate federal law by rehiring former employees who have no legal right to work in the United States. “

A recent article on, entitled, “Nativo Lopez:  Does He Speak for MAPA and Mexican Americans?” discusses the rocky road that preceded his current indictment and incarceration.


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